Politics Fox host tells South Carolina voters not to vote for Graham: "He has betrayed the American people"
How South Carolina became one of 2020’s most unexpected Senate battlegrounds
The historically Republican state is now considered a toss-up.In a state where no Democrat has won a Senate seat for more than two decades, former South Carolina Democratic Party Chair Jaime Harrison has fielded an incredibly strong challenge to incumbent Sen. Lindsey Graham, a high-profile Trump ally. Although early polling had Harrison lagging Graham by as much as 17 percentage points in February, recent surveys have the two lawmakers in a statistical tie.
Lou Dobbs and Lindsey Graham Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images
Fox Business host andripped into Sen. , R-S.C., over the weekend, telling his audience in the final countdown to Election Day that he did not know who
"Just to be clear I don't know why anyone in the great state of South Carolina would ever vote for Lindsey Graham," Dobbs said on his Friday broadcast. "It's just outrageous. This is the guy who keeps saying, 'Stay tuned.' He said he was going to get to the bottom of Obamagate with the Judiciary Committee, which has been a year and a half, actually longer, of absolute inert — inert — response to these pressing issues of our day."
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"Obamagate" is a reference toalleging that former President Barack Obama ordered his administration to spy on then-candidate Donald Trump's 2016 campaign.
Dobbs then invoked President Trump's own words in a stinging series of critiques of the Republican senator, whofound trailing for the first time.
"I believe that the president's words about the senator then apply today," Dobbs said, reading Trump'sfrom a Feb. 17, 2016, campaign event in Graham's home state of South Carolina:
I think Lindsey Graham is a disgrace, and I think you have one of the worst representatives of any representative in the United States. I don't think he could run for dogcatcher in the state and win again. I really don't. Other than that, I think he's wonderful. He's one of the dumbest human beings I've ever seen. That guy is a nut job.
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At the time, Trump was responding tothat the Republican Party would get "slaughtered" if Trump won the nomination.
Casting Graham as a turncoat on the Trump administration, Dobbs again invoked Obamagate as his sole example.
"Graham has betrayed President Trump at almost every turn. He has betrayed the American people and his oath of office," Dobbs concluded. "He's done absolutely nothing to investigate Obamagate, except to tell everyone stay tuned time and time again: 'Stay tuned.' Senator Graham needs to be tuned out in South Carolina."
Graham has found his campaign foundering in recent weeks under the pressure of Harrison's war chest and strong debate showing. A Morning Consultreleased Thursday showed Harrison ahead of Graham 47% - 45%, with 12 campaign days remaining.
"Lindsey Graham is scared right now, and he should be," campaign spokesperson Guy King told Salon in a statement. "As Lindsey scurries off to Washington to play another round of political games, our grassroots movement is catapulting forward. South Carolina is ready for a leader who will stand up and fight for them — something Lindsey Graham fails to do."
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Harrison has sought to cast Graham as out of touch and divorce him from the interests of voters in the state, and that strategy appears to have yielded results. Graham's slipping poll numbers coincide with his return to Washington to chair the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.
Quinnipiac polls have shown the two neck-and-neck for months, and the pollster recentlythat Graham was in "the fight of his political life." Election analysts at recently shifted the race in the typical GOP stronghold to "toss-up."
"It's a jump ball at this point," a Republican strategist in the state told Cook. "Jaime is peaking at exactly the right time, and he's got a deluge of money. [Harrison] is blocking every pass there is from Republicans."
After one hearing last week, Graham, who hasin several recent Fox News appearances, was accused of in the halls of the Senate building.
"I think people in South Carolina are," Graham . "I don't know how much it affected fundraising today, but if you want to help me close the gap . . . Lindsey Graham dot com — a little bit goes a long way."
After congratulating Harrison on a record-setting $58 million, he added: "I never felt better about my campaign than I do right now."
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